Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin. Not sure what that means? This is the place to find out.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar (glucose), starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Through multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump, it will be up to you to monitor your blood glucose levels and appropriately administer your insulin. You will need to work closely with your healthcare team to determine which insulin or insulins are best for you and your body. Click here to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population. Learn more about Type 2 Diabetes here.
Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies.
We don’t know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.
Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia. Read more about Gestational Diabetes here.
The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times. Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record, such as the fact that they have diabetes and use insulin. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID.
Information found herein courtesy of American Diabetes Association.